Read Surveys (By Author)
Jessica Marie Griffith
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
Heels. I rarely wear heels, so it always feels special when I do. Even if I have a baggy and unflattering outfit on, I still feel sexier in heels.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
I have always admired how people put together an outfit. I am a big people watcher, as is the rest of my family. We are all really observant and look for small details or cues to help us understand people. Maybe it is a trust issue thing, but overall I enjoy seeing another women's point of view. In Spain or Paris, I am in awe of the women's legs! They all have amazing legs, skin, and mature style. Very good people watching times in Europe are to be had.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
The last few years my view on this question has shifted. I used to admire women that had all the "right" pieces on. Not necessarily trendy, but good quality, chic, and maybe expensive. Today, I admire the interesting and unexpected details that artists, designers, and architects choose when presenting themselves (or at least it seems to often be women in these fields). I often think about the way my art teachers dressed, they always made me feel a little uncomfortable or perplexed with their style choices. Their art seemed to be reflected in the way that they dress. I like that.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Keep looking and wait. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt when it comes to shopping. I will spend hours in a thrift store, the hop over to a chain store. I tend to find fine pieces in unexpected places at a good price because I am willing to keep looking or wait. However, this can eat up a lot of your time and you have to be in the right mood for it. Bring snacks and water if you attempt to spend your Saturday this way.
Also, navy is the best color to buy.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Loose tops with fitted bottoms. For me this is a look I can pull off with my body type. But I understand that not everyone can do that. Not that they can't, just that it may not be comfortable. I like to be comfortable and this is a go to silhouette for me.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
Be open and mindful. I do not succeed at this intention all the time, but I think about it a lot. I tend to feel stressed, overwhelmed, narcissistic, judgmental and depressed if I do not. It is a lot of work for me.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Clogs and sweaters. I have come to realization I love clogs so much I want to collect them. They are also really good for your posture and strengthening your foot and shin muscles. They helped me build up strength in high school when I was getting shin splints at track meets all the time.
I live in the Pacific Northwest so I tend to live in sweaters 8 months out of the year. To feel like you have choices in your wardrobe despite the weather, you gotta have a lot of sweaters.
Perhaps it is in my blood too. My mother wore clogs all the time, and my aunt makes a living designing, making, and selling sweaters at local craft fairs. I grew up modeling them for her, and she would pay me in sweaters.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
There are a lot! I guess bedazzled items and sparkly jewelry, because I think I look weird in shiny things. I feel like a valley girl in them. Pastels, I just cannot make them work either. They look pretty on other women, but I feel too juvenile in them.
Oh, and strapless or thin strap tops and dresses. I feel naked in them. But I often admire other women that look great in these styles.
16. Please describe your body.
Slim but not toned. I slouch too much, but I am flexible.
17. Please describe your mind.
Racing. I tend to explode with thoughts exploring all possibilities. It is my curse but also my strength. Looking at the "big picture" helps me in a lot of ways too.
18. Please describe your emotions.
I tend to lean on the more anxious and negative side of things. I struggle with depression, self-doubt, and judgement. I have very strong emotions sometimes. However, looking at the "big picture" in my mind helps me tremendously. It helps me have more empathy, brings calmness, and allows me to hear my voice.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
I am wearing a beeswax face cream called Boomsilk. I use almond oil on my body, as well as lanolin for really dry cracked skin on my hands. My hair is down, long, and unbrushed. I am wearing clogs, polka-dot socks, and levi's jeans. I have on one of my favorite sweaters. It is a mens navy wool fishermen's sweater. It has a big collar so it keeps my neck warm.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
I was wondering that too! I have no idea. But, I think what is important is to share what everyday women expect or get from "fashion." This book is great because it becomes no longer about class, status, or whatever else seems to annoy me about fashion. But it becomes about stories, life, family, and just plain old pleasure from real women.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
I feel like I mostly give advice about clothes to friends. I try not to ask for opinions anymore, because I have found it never mattered to me anyway. I just do what I want to do.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
I think I do have these things, but I often find it hard to talk about. I like the idea of self-expression, collections, or comfort rather than taste or style. The latter seems to evoke a classist feeling to me. I do not feel that they do not exist, just that it is less important to talk about for me. Those words seem to have a lot of baggage.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
A bridesmaids dress x 2.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
My style seeps into my art, my designs, and my home. My husband is an artist, and I am a designer with an art background. We are both very visual, so we tend to spend more time on thinking about presentation in all areas of our life than most people. We take joy in playing with shapes, color, and textures.
27. Can you recall some times when you have dressed a particular way to calm yourself or gain a sense of control over a situation that scared you?
I used to work in a seedy part of town, and I stuck out like a sore thumb if I dressed too nice. For fear of being targeted on the streets I dressed in dark colors, work grubby clothes, and covered my head with a hat or hoodie. But that was when I was an artist's assistant so it did not matter what I wore to work.
If men stare at me, especially men that I know, I consciously think of ways to dress different around them. I hate the thought of men looking me up and down. It just creeps me out. A sad reality.
29. Did your parents teach you things about clothing, care for your clothing, dressing or style? What lessons do you remember? Or did you just pick things up?
My family is very creative and knows how to work with all kinds of materials. They taught me about different kinds of leather, the risks you take with suede. The warmth of wool and how to get those little balls off, or find more quality wool to avoid that all together. Mostly quality of materials and style will last a lifetime. I recently learned in starting my own accessories line, that most people are very detached from materials. They have no idea how to clean a leather bag or polish a shoe! I hope I can pass what I learned on to my customers.
32. If dressing were the only thing you did, and you were considered an expert and asked to explain your style philosophy, what would you say?
Quality over quantity. Be open, explore, but remember comfort. Never dress how someone else wants you to dress.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
34. What do you consider very ugly?
35. Are you generally a good judge of whether what you buy will end up being worn? Have you figured out how to know in advance?
These are a series of questions I ask myself before I make a purchase big or small:
1. Do I truly like it or do I just recognize it?
2. Is it comfortable?
3. Do I need it? What purpose will this serve?
36. When you look at yourself before going out, and you are trying to see yourself from the outside, can you describe a bit about what this “other person” is like? What do they like, dislike, what sorts of judgments do they have? Is this “outer eye” based on someone you know or once knew?
I think people probably wonder a lot whey I wear such loose clothes sometimes. I have a nice figure, and I think it is taught in our culture to show it off. But I just like comfort, and tight tops are not comfortable to me. I also like the interesting proportions a loose top creates over the body. People, including my husband, have often asked why I do not "show off" my waist. But I do not like to "show off." I just like to be me and I do not think fit is the ultimatum for style.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Basically what I am wearing today (see previous question about what I am wearing right now.)
50. Do you ever wish you were a man or could dress like a man or had a man’s body? Was there ever a time in the past?
I like having a women's body, but I do love mens clothes. I often wear a mens pair of Levis, and my friends always ask, "Are those Cable's (my husband) pants?" I just laugh and say no and that they are mine. I get very turned on by a man that is dressed like Indiana Jones. But I also get turned on by the clothes, I want to wear them too.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
I want to try them all.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I gave up on makeup a few years ago. I realized my skin was too sensitive for the harsh ingredients in makeup. I have these really nice coconut oil based tinted creams that I use for blush, lips, and eye brightening. I rarely wear mascara, and sometimes darken my brows a bit to give more shape. But overall I go for natural and dewy. I am very proud that taking care of my body inside and out has done wonders on my skin, so I like to just showcase that. I feel sad inside when people say they have to wear a certain thing on their face or they are ugly. I used to think the circles under my eyes were ugly, but I learned by watching other women you can look great without makeup. Wearing less makeup and doing less about my hair has freed up SO MUCH time. I cannot imagine giving up that precious time to makeup ever again.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
I very large turquoise and silver ring of my great-grandfathers. I love that he wore it. It is such a big statement piece, I rarely wear it. But I love it.
66. Tell us about something in your closet that you keep but never wear. What is it, why don’t you wear it, and why do you keep it?
I have these hippy dresses of my moms that she used to wear in high school. I think I wore one as a costume for halloween one year. But I love them as a reminder, and I hope to pass them on to my kids someday (if I choose to have any.)
67. Looking back at all your purchases over the past five to fifteen years, can you generalize about what sorts of things were the most valuable to buy?
A really nice gray wool toggle coat. It is classic and has lasted me ten years so far!
Cashmere and wool sweaters. I purchased most of mine second hand, and they hold up really well.
Shoes. Invest in good shoes for comfort and durability. I love my Sven clogs, Dieppa Restrepo brogues, and Frye boots. I look forward to wearing.
68. Is there an item of clothing that you once owned, but no longer own, and still think about or wish you had back? What was it, what happened to it, and why do you want it back?
This vintage camel swing coat I had in my early twenties. It was technically way too big for me, but the silhouette was nothing like I could find again after I donated it. I had assumed I could find one that fit a bit better again, but I have yet to do so. It was so soft and had such a nice buttery color. I miss wearing a lighter color coat in the winter.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
June 29th, 1986. I was born in Livermore, CA. I currently live in Seattle, WA. We moved here when I was around two.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
I come from a Spanish and Scottish heritage. I would consider myself lower middle-class.
What kind of work do you do?
I have a background in art, and I currently shifted to designing accessories and textiles. I started my own line of art inspired leather goods called, Pine & Boon in 2013.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
I am married and I am still on the fence about kids.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I am a fourth generation artist and crafter from a family mostly run by women.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
It feels nice to share my story. I tend not to talk a whole lot, so sharing my story at my pace and in my home is easier for me.